Alumni from the NUS Business School are crossing global borders through business missions.
Thanks to the strong support of the alumni, the business mission trips organized by NUS Business School and its alumni organizations since last year took the school’s graduates to locations such as Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Jakarta and Surabaya in Indonesia.
These business mission trips play an integral part of the alumni’s lifelong learning as they offer great insight into the countries of visit, allowing the alumni an opportunity to understand the business climate there first-hand.
Visiting alumni are oftentimes met by fellow graduates who are based on the various countries. The local alumni graciously play host and share valuable local insights with their visiting counterparts.
Ms Catherine Tang (MBA 2000), who works in the medical industry in Singapore, found her trip to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City earlier this year truly beneficial. “It was my first time on a business mission trip organized by the alumni office and I found it very well organized. The diverse industries which we visited were eye-openers to further understand the different developments in the business world.”
Mr Poh Hee Kim (MBA 1999) feels that the trip offers alumni the chance to have a first hand perspective on the local working conditions and the prospects of business there. “I found it very helpful that we were able to catch up with other members of the alumni, such that we could exchange and share our ideas with one another.”
Extending friendships, expanding networks
Apart from life-long learning, business mission trips are also great for alumni to extend friendships and expand their network.
In China, 10 alumni based in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhouhai drove to Song Shanhu Industrial Park in Dongguan last December where they were warmly received by fellow alumnus Mr Wu Weichu (MBA 2001), who is Vice Director of the Park. This was part of a visit initiated by the Southern China Alumni Network (SCAN).
Members of the trip were extremely thankful for Mr Wu’s warm hospitality and friendship and are already looking forward to more of such trips.
In Indonesia, the Mandarin Alumni Surabaya Chapter extended a warm welcome to visiting alumni from the NUS Business School Mandarin Alumni and faculty from the school on a recent trip to Surabaya.
The group visited the Maspion Industrial Group, a large company in Indonesia that specializes in a diverse range of products and services. This was followed by a welcome dinner, hosted by the Chapter’s Honorary President, Mr Alim Markus (Executive Education).
The trip also saw Associate Professor Hwarng Hsingliang of NUS Business School, share his thoughts on ‘Developing a Competitive Edge through Value Creation’ during a forum. The event captivated the 130-strong audience comprising of alumni based in Indonesia and overseas.
Such forums during a business mission trip not only provide alumni with a platform to be engaged intellectually, but also to expand their network through rekindling old friendships and forming new ones.
Mr Gan Giap Leong (Executive Education), who enjoyed the trip tremendously, commented, “It was a great trip for the alumni, there was a lot of re-bonding with classmates and a convenient way to get back in touch with one another. It was also interesting to see what businesses our school mates were involved in.”
Apart from the business mission to Surabaya, the Mandarin Alumni also organized a trip to Jakarta in 2007.
Strong alumni support
These business mission trips were possible because of the strong support from the alumni based in the countries of visit.
Alumni playing hosts are key to the success of these trips as they are a great resource for local knowledge. With some of them being in leadership positions of various companies and organizations meant that visiting alumni had access to valuable behind-the-scene knowledge that would otherwise be inaccessible to others.
For instance, during the trip to Ho Chi Minh City, the alumni had an opportunity to visit companies such as the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), VinaCapital, Accor Group Asia Pacific and Keppel Land (Vietnam) and L’Oreal Vietnam.
Some of the visits were made possible with the help of alumni such as Mr Huynh Quang Hai (MSc(MOT) 2000), CEO of VSIP, Mr Hoang Duc Minh (MBA 2005) of Vinacapital and Mr Nguyen Duc Minh (MBA 2006) of Keppel Land (Vietnam).
Apart from ground visits to companies, alumni on these trips were also given presentations on the companies and the local business scene in a diverse range of industries in the country of visit.
In fact, the presence of alumni during such business trips is clearly what makes the trips distinctive and valuable.
“I appreciate the friendship and support of the alumni during the trip which makes a business trip with the alumni very different from that of a usual school trip,” pointed out Mr Richard Leong, a current NUS MBA student who was part of the business mission trip to Vietnam.
Encouraged by the positive feedback from the alumni, GANO is currently working on business mission trips to other exciting destinations. This could be to India, where growth is accelerating with its dynamic business environment, and United Arab Emirates, where the oil and tourism boom is offering numerous new opportunities for expansion for firms.
“We certainly look forward to taking the alumni to more business mission trips in the future as we believe these trips are a great way to expand knowledge and networks,” said Ms Florence Leow, Manager of GANO.